There comes a point in every reader’s journey when they pick up a book that instantly gets them hooked. This can happen for a number of reasons, It could be that you connect to the story, or that the location and time period fascinate you. With me, it’s all about the characters and their journeys of personal discovery. A keen player of Dungeon and Dragons, as both the character and the dungeon MASTER I have experienced this on both sides of the coin. character creation is one of my first loves and from the DM perspective, watching the growth of the characters around you is nothing short of rewarding. It isn’t surprising that so many of the worlds best fantasy novels often include a group of four or more journeying characters, bouncing, learn and growing together.
In James Islington’s An Echo of Things to Come we are returned to the high fantasy adventures of Davian, who not only has one of the best names ever given to a protagonist in the history of the fantasy genre but is also one of the most richly described characters I’ve ever read. The story is unstoppable and catches you early on, you don’t have to have read the first book, this can easily be picked up (I say easy, the books massive!) as the first title in the trilogy can be left to backstory, put simply – it’s that well written.
I read it in well under two months, which for a hefty tomb of 700 plus pages, is good going considering that within that time I moved house, changed day jobs and had only the evenings to read. Fantasy novelist tend to have this habit of taking you on extremely long winded journeys that often feel as though they’re gaining ground on a fabulous conclusion, but then dish out a load of poorly written, badly crafted deceptive cadences of cliques that are not too dissimilar to this over wordy sentence that you’ve just, for some reason, still find yourself reading, I know, annoying isn’t it? Mr Islington has done the complete opposite. At no point did I feel I was reading the ramblings of some fantasy freakazoid you find stinking of Mountain Dew in some comic book shop corner salivating over some oversexed, oversized models of Harlequin. Nope, James Islington is one of those writers that understand the importance of relationships between all things. The characters to their world and environment, the plot and the dynamics between their personalities, work in perfect harmony. I felt I was reading a page turning 100k word crime thriller at the start and end of every chapter. So thank you, James, if you’re reading this, I think you might be the one writer that gets it. To the readers out there yet to tuck in, do so, and give the series all of the time it deserves for fruitful words and eloquent sentences await you.
An Echo of Things to Come is available to buy now from Amazon and all good book shops.